…think to yourself, ‘There’s no place like home’
If you were born under a waxing gibbous, the need for escape, to commune with nature, to distance the self from this world, to hide, to communicate in words and music, to be a conduit for emotions and memories that others find difficult to express is apparently part and parcel of who you are. Under this Moon you need to be in relationship with others who respect your sensitivity but for this to happen, you must first respect it for yourself.
That’s me told then.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 1ST
WORD OF THE DAY
- British. Informal. to pry something out of a place, as winkle meat is dug out of its shell with a pin (usually followed by ‘out’)
- British. Any of various marine gastropods; periwinkle.
This chapter has been brought to you by my having forced myself to sit still for long enough to prize the juiciest memories out of the recesses of a mind that is bubble-wrapped six feet deep and stacked high with cartons, parcel tape, trips to the recycling bins and physically moving out.
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 2ND
WORD OF THE DAY
- Nearness in place, proximity.
- Affinity of nature; similarity
SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY
- (general) a. song
I stepped in the biggest pile of dog shit walking to the bins on the Carrer del Pau today. Yass! Luck incoming. But OCD as I am, this just made me want to throw my shoes out and bathe in my feet in neat bleach all day.
Heidi from I-Safe called to confirm a unit large enough to house my belongings. Finally!!! Thank you feet and thank you dog shit. Big but? The unit does not fall free until the 12th. I am NFA, homeless and happy on the 18th. I have left it too late to find storage elsewhere so spend the next six days double breathing into a paper bag and taking shares out in Voltarol.
I give, sell and donate equipment, furniture, clothes, shoes and white goods like a shopping channel Mother Christmas. The flat briefly turns into a size 8-10/26/34/35/39 sized Generation Game conveyor belt. I drop and clumsily break my enormous chinese piggy bank. I’ve had it for eight years and always thought that it was metal. It wasn’t. Who knew. Anyway, the short change inside makes me the princely sum of 500€ which makes it worth having to wash my hands like Lady Macbeth for about 5 hours after counting and bagging it.
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 9TH
WORD OF THE DAY
- a writer, editor, or compiler of a dictionary.
I have an early morning appointment with the Gestor in San An to transfer car ownership to Helen. We are prepared for it being an all day affair, but it is over in minutes so we head to Rita’s for an al fresco, celebratory brunch in the sunshine. Rita’s is a beautiful and popular place to people and Marina watch so we lap up the sun and the atmosphere.
As we order breakfast I tell Helen that I have been thinking about inviting Mo Chaudry (my ex) to my leaving do. As I finish speaking I look up and in perfect synchronicity, Mo walks into Rita’s. We smile, he sits with us and we catch up on family and work stuff. It’s been a while. I thank him sincerely for his part in my journey so far. It’s a peaceful conversation that clears my headspace with a head rush of release. The love affair that brought me to the island ends on a happy note with smiles and kisses and wishes for the best.
I raved hard that night at Adrian Browne (Zoo Project)’s Unusual Suspects party at Sankeys. It was rammed with bodies bouncing off each other and the walls in kinetic unison. The booth provided a safe haven where I got the opportunity to talk to Nicole Moudaber and Carl Craig about their upcoming plans. As Nicole decompressed from her set, I babbled on, telling her how proud I am of her, that I expect her to take a residency for the next year at Space or DC10. She humbly says she won’t do Space – she will always be loyal to Carl Cox, her mentor. I have a gut feeling that something equally big will land in her Ibiza lap regardless. She’s come a long way since Saturdays at Turnmills: now with a record label, a syndicated global radio show and residencies all over the world she is truly the #1 female dj. She works her ass off, travels the world converting thousands to her brand of techno and thus fully deserves her crown.
I haven’t bumped heads with Carl Craig since I was his publicist in the Talkin Loud ‘Innerzone Orchestra’ days. I automatically click into flanking him and ejecting people from the booth so that he can work unimpeded. He laughed about my perma protective streak. After Nicole had aced it with a hard, driving tribal techno set, Carl followed, doing Detroit proud with a vocal and funk infused techno tear up. My DJ booth mini breaks are broken up with some long stay parking and manouevres on the dancefloor.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 11
WORD OF THE DAY
- The space of fourteen nights and days; two weeks.
I am mid yoga session, breathing and thinking deeply.
In a fortnight it will be Christmas Day and I will be unwrapping presents instead of packing boxes. This is a bittersweet reflection. It means I will no longer be able to stand on the terrace in my crack fashion joggers and hoodie inhaling and absorbing the stunning 360° vista that I have loved and lived for the last two years. changes asana I am ok with this. changes asana I will not be cleaning the fridge freezer with Dr Beckman’s and finishing off with a spritz of neat Domestos (because I am that OCD). changes asana – plough. I leave here at 9am on Sunday December 20th … *changes asana* then *wobbles out of headstand and ungracefully assumes half lotus* Thinks.
Hold on a second. I pace around my quarter empty apartment and recalculate my T minus. The collective weight of my reinforced, glass studio tables weighs heavily on my knitted eyebrows. frown face Flashback to the two previous Ibiza moves when I alone had dragged said tables from the car across the gravel and shale drive and concrete steps, aided only by brute force, prayer, a lot of swearing, a woollen blanket and an IKEA Aladdin looking rug which I no longer own. I count the friends volunteering to help me on no fingers, then add the square root of suddenly wanting to cry from a place of deep grief – and deep heat. A sizzling sheen evaporates on my forehead like Evian mist. Cue stress incontinence.
FML… I have to break the studio down tonight. No shit. The removal men are booked for tomorrow! Shit shit shit. I thought I had another comfortable week to organise this as there is no way on God’s Earth I will get them out of the flat, into the lift, through the garage and into the car or down three flights of marble stairs into my car on any other day, especially not on my own. The removal men have to take it tomorrow, which means I have to LOOK SHARP TODAY.
At 11pm the studio looked like this …
AT 9,15 am it looked like this …
Moving house is a relentless, heartless taskmaster. I mentally book an appointment with my bed for Sunday morning then realise that I won’t actually have one.
SATURDAY DECEMBER 12TH
THE BIG PUSH
I started alone and early morning, making probably 7 round trips, ferrying boxes by car from my flat then little box, big boxed everything from the small storage unit into the bigger one. I relentlessly hulked the 24 awkward boxes of vinyl already in one unit plus an assortment of archived paperwork, awkward furnishings and more shoes than Imelda Marcos with gritted teeth, straining carotids and without pausing for breath or breakfast.
Then the bad news. My extra pair of hands – my reliable muscleman with gripping hands, moving eyes, a personal training string-pull and a spacious motorhome has suddenly flaked. I was sure he had offered me a helping hand any time I needed it in the past. How could I have made such a rudimentary schoolgirl error? Still, I gave him the luxury of my precious time and listened sympathetically to his whingeing: blah blah blah something about a tight schedule, blah blah blah something about precious doorways … axel of his vehicle blah blah. He offered to help for an hour if I could carry all the boxes down to street level to somewhere two streets away where he could park. I told him to get lost. That’s island men all over. Un-re-fucking-liable.com He was a shit shag too. A ‘let down’ was all I could expect from this averagely endowed, unremarkable lay who looked like a creepy twat when he put on his Superman onesie to say ‘goodbye’. Double jeopardy works both ways.
Fred Everywhere was on holiday somewhere off the island but fortunately Capable Chris (another of the island’s favourite removal men) was available at short notice for the afternoon. When he arrived he was fast, efficient and got the job done in two and a half hours. He also managed to get past my psychotic, screaming neighbours. In your face. Who needs Superman?
On a night when the whole of the island was drinking copious amounts of cheap wine and going Facebook status loopy at the Wine Festival, I was Betty ‘No Mates’ cleaning the flat to deposit return standard, then packing and repacking the equipment and clothing left that needed to be flown or shipped to the UK.
THURSDAY 17TH DECEMBER
LEAVING / BIRTHDAY DO.
I and twenty of my friends descended on Cubar – the Cuban / Spanish tapas place run by Steve Hulme on the Parque De La Paz for a spicy last supper. We ate all we could eat, emptied as much of Steve’s beer barrels and bar, took a ton of pictures, talked a lot, ate some more, settled a very reasonable bill then went for more drinks around Ibiza town and finished with a flourish, dancing with Leena and Anita at the Teatro Peyrera.
Picture of me, Eleanor and Maya before the carnage …
When I made my way home there were 6 guardia civil standing around my car having a leisurely chat. I body swerved them and pretended I was looking at the time limit on the car parking machine then made myself scarce. I absolutely hadn’t intended staying out that late or drinking that much and now driving was out of the question. I hadn’t intended walking home either but my phone was black screen dead and the roads might as well have had tumbleweed rolling across them so I had no choice. I walked half way home to Jesus in the freezing cold with no coat. By the time I got to Veto I looked like the dog in the back of the pick up truck in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
When he saw how pathetic I looked my security guard friend from Veto took pity and called a taxi for me. I wanted to marry him for that. I’ll miss Veto for that caring community vibe. I fell into bed a little drunk, a lot more sober, exhausted, fully clothed and still shivering.
FRIDAY 18TH DECEMBER
I awoke with a Hierbas-tard hangover, remembered the 9am free plimit and tore out of the flat for a brisk, money-saving walk in the blazing sunshine from Jesus to Dalt Vila. The internet Ib-Red engineers arrived to collect the router and faffed about on the roof from 09.30am till lunch time, keeping me spanish conversational. I felt surprisingly organised and accomplished for a lobotomised zombie.
I closed my Ibiza dj’ing diary with a Friday night slot at the Spanish Underwoman party run by my friends Gael and Alicja. ‘Underwoman’ was the first truly spanish party I played on the island and over the years I have become great friends with Gael, Alicja and Ita. They have been like sisters to me and I will miss my Spanish family.
I was impressed with the Bubbles overhaul. They’d lowered the dj booth to dance floor level, improved the sound, put some gels in so it was not so stark and everything felt more rave and a lot less clinical. Nearing the end of my set, Sankey’s head honcho, Dave Vincent slipped his business card into my hand saying “you don’t know who I am but I am starting a new night next season. You must give me a ring.“
Sod’s Law – discuss. I catch a break the day before I leave the island for good. I would have loved to play at Sankeys – it would have given me a chance to play a proper club set for an up for it clubbing crowd. In the last week I have had three ‘residents’ parties offers for next summer. The new night turned out to be Sankeys Sabados – a Ladies’ and Ibiza residents’ only concept and one of the successes of the winter and summer seasons.
SUNDAY 20TH DECEMBER
I’M GOING HOME
I arrived at the airport fully checked in, relaxed and with a leisurely seventy-five minutes to wait until the flight. All this changed at the bag-drop when I realised that I had no passport. Where to start? I had spent my last night yoga, restaurant, car and spare room surfing. I had posted the keys to Gavin’s empty flat back in the letterbox and had left Trish to bask in her first early night in ages. Flashback to me sitting on Trish’s sofa under a blanket, blissed out after a Kundalini and gong session whilst filling in the immigration form for Ryanair on her I-pad. Question: Passport number.
Apologetic 7.50am call from me to Trish revealed my passport to be hiding under the duvet on the sofa. #hooraynothooray Cue strong coffee and a pedal to the metal mercy dash from Ca Na Negreta. I paced up and down outside Ibiza Airport like I was doing some military fatigues. If I had smoked I would have looked like a tobacco testing beagle. Trish arrived having driven with the gods clearly behind her. She delivered my passport to me with a radiant smile, a huge hug, lots of love, a namaste and still left me with 40 minutes to chill before departure. Too bad, Tanit, no matter how hard you try to keep me on the island, the force has awakened and my will to leave is stronger.
TUESDAY 22nd DECEMBER
WORD OF THE DAY
- tending to promote peace or reconciliation; peaceful or conciliatory.
It’s my first morning back in the UK and I have contracted a money back guaranteed, allergic reaction to the Elizabeth Arden rich hydrating cream that I bought for a decadent ‘treat’ in Madrid Airport. My skin is bubbling like lava, I am itching like Baloo and Jordan James Park would swap his lips for mine in a heartbeat. It’s a strong birthday look. I don’t feel much like showing my face to the public so me and my twin sister celebrate our birthday indoors with a pyjama party, watching ‘Inside Out’ and snivelling in chorus into our hankies.
SATURDAY 26TH DECEMBER
WORD OF THE DAY
- frank and simple good heartedness.
I have a graphic techno-colour nightmare. I’m doing an ‘Essential Mix’ in a radio studio that looks like Rinse but also like Radio 1. The producer leaves me alone in the studio with three hours to fill. I find that I have to use DATS which aren’t DATs but look like an archaic fuse switch to back it all up. The DAT is numbered and labelled with white tape and black permanent marker. I find mine, plug it in to a tardis looking console then get my usb sticks.
I have six of these but not one of them can be read by any of the CDJs. One shows a folder of music which is not mine and cannot be opened. When I finally open the folder and scroll though it, it is funky but nothing anyone would recognise or think was particularly good. Then the DAT machine starts spewing what looks like elastoplasts and pill blisterpacks. It won’t stop. I know I am running out of time to record the mix. I shout to Paula (my twin) for help but she is talking to someone. I call for a technician but there is no one around to help me. I step out into the street, walk around a bit in the sunlight – but somehow dislocated from the day – I don’t see anyone I know or anything that might help.
When I return I am alone at the radio station. I keep scrolling through the USB sticks and start to play a mixmash of what I can find. I know that people will know it’s not my music but I make the best of the mix until …
I wake up highly stressed and anxious, then totally relieved. It’s just a dream. My twin puts this down to us watching ‘Zombieland’ before bedtime. I put it down to eating popcorn and doritos at 1 in the morning. But like most bad dreams it has a destabilising effect.
I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day with this. To me it felt like a subconscious representation of my professional life. With all things Christmas and moving, I have not had the tools or the desire to make a radio show or a mix since I arrived – my equipment is still boxed and only arrived on the 27th. I’ve repeated and missed one show already this month. My weekly Virgin radio show takes a lot of preparation: 30% of the content must be playlist tracks with one playlist track played every 10 minutes. This often ruins the creative flow. Moreover the pop / french playlist music required is a cost that whilst minimal, I resent having to pay. I’m always enthusiastic but have started to labour the weekly routine. I don’t speak on air and I’m not playing exactly what I want to play, the work is unpaid and the support, training, feedback and promotion promised are non-existent. The show hasn’t generated the extra dj work I had hoped exposure and association with a national radio station would bring and the contract wasn’t a fair / two-way, sound or lucrative one. My contract is up for renewal in July. Maybe that’s what the dream means?
TUESDAY 29TH DECEMBER
WORD OF THE DAY
1 having or abounding with stars.
An early morning IM and phone call leads to my first foray into Manchester night life. I have been invited by my Ibiza friends Big L (Andrew Livesey – Pikes/ We Love) and Jamie ‘Fatneck’ Low to enjoy the twisted pleasures of outside winter drinking at ‘Folk’ and ‘Volta’ in West Didsbury. They’re both great bars that lend themselves well to bar hopping being next door to each other and all. So our fun starts with double bubble / doubles trouble then ends with a marathon vinyl session at Hidden (Mcr) and new NTS Radio Manchester presenter Annabel Fraser’s loft apartment somewhere in ‘hip’ Ancoats.
Seeing the Pollard Street name plate on the way, catapulted me back to my years as an 18+ Management Trainee for the CWS. I have a deep respect and fondness for all things Co-op and CWS but you know how everyone has that one job that they didn’t like. This was mine. The 2 year scheme was easily as good as Marks & Spencers graduate scheme but the three month placement in the dark, satanic Albion Mill unsurprisingly depressed me enough to want to resign. We were also sent on an Outward Bound team-building course in Scotland where our creepy Team Leader had wandering hands in the tent at lights out. Training in HR / Industrial Relations in a factory in deepest Lowry land where theft, shrinkage, absenteeism and strikes were the norm? Well that was torture for this 19 year old. Each lonely day felt like falling through seven rings of hell and banging my head on every ridge, crag and boulder on the way down. What a relief to find that it has been turned into a block of fun-filled and family flats. I treasure the day I resigned and decided to follow my heart and my dreams instead. Many positives out of multiple negatives.
We left Annabel’s at 6am to catch our respective trains. I had forgotten to phone home and for the first time in thirty years was worried about how my mum was going to react to that. House rules are house rules even if the passage of time indicates that you should be beyond such concerns. Returning to the motherland is slowly becoming a series of vivid flashbacks, random outbursts, cinema trips, a parade of good friends, day time walks, late night metrolink journeys and some unsettling dreams. And the awareness that even in the darkest places, I love my city.
WEDNESDAY 30TH DECEMBER
WORD OF THE DAY
- integrity and uprightness; honesty
I rolled in around 7am, slept through the day, woke up ridiculously hungover and ate breakfast for lunch. I told Blanche (mum) all about my friends and my night out, but she maintained an inscrutable silence. I avoid conflict over this despite KNOWING that Mum has put me in the doghouse like the errant sixteen year old she thinks I still am.
THURSDAY 31ST OF DECEMBER
WORD OF THE DAY
- glittering, especially with tinsel; decked with garish finery
- imitation gold leaf; tinsel; false glitter
There’s always a celebrity death at New Year. This year we lost Natalie Cole.
My family love her music so I post her obituary to my family Whatsapp group and on my sister Audrey’s facebook page – (she’s the biggest Natalie Cole fan out of all of us).
New Year’s Eve takes us to a party at my sister Elicia’s house. Mum and I are the first guests to arrive so I can eat my way around the delicious buffet snacks unimpeded. The TV news is playing in the background. It’s gone 9pm before I remember that I was supposed to submit a radio show today. Mini meltdown incoming. A terse Whatsapp exchange from my french agent reveals that they needed the show by 1pm due to the holiday and are now going to repeat the 19/12 show instead. I am embarrassed.
NYE FIREWORKS LONDON
In Leeds, the appearance of the Aurora Borealis made the headlines.
Major Lazer’s ‘Lean On’ (Spotify’s most streamed track of the year)
My first 10 days back on home soil have been everything I’d hoped for and the support of my family and friends has been rock solid throughout. I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions laced with unconditional love, full family reconnection, festive food and head-splitting hangovers. My living space is shrinking, quickly dwarfed by the clothes and equipment that are slowly migrating upstairs, piling on chairs, hiding under the bed and stuffing the wardrobes until I can feel my cabin fever rising.
I’m happy I’m home though. If my life was a jigsaw, my year end and New Year would be the missing piece of clear sky that you find in your lap when you stand up.
To be continued …